Arianna Huffington on a New Definition of Success
Sound familiar? And when we're living a life of perpetual time famine, we rob ourselves of our ability to experience another key element of the Third Metric: wonder, our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives.
Another of my mother's gifts was to be in a constant state of wonder at the world around her. Whether she was washing dishes or feeding seagulls at the beach or reprimanding overworking businessmen, she maintained her sense of wonder at life. And whenever I'd complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: "Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don't replay the bad, scary movie."
Well-being, wonder. Both of these are key to creating the Third Metric. And then there is the third indispensable W in redefining success: wisdom.
Wherever we look around the world, we see smart leaders—in politics, in business, in media—making terrible decisions. What they're lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices—our gadgets, our screens, our social media—and reconnect with ourselves.
To be honest, it's not something that comes naturally to me. The last time my mother got angry with me before she died was when she saw me reading my email and talking to my children at the same time. "I abhor multitasking," she said, in a Greek accent that puts mine to shame. In other words, being connected in a shallow way to the entire world can prevent us from being deeply connected to those closest to us—including ourselves. And that is where wisdom is found.
I'm convinced of two fundamental truths about human beings. The first is that we all have within us a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and strength. This is a truth that all the world's philosophies and religions—whether Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism—acknowledge in one form or another: "The kingdom of God is within you." Or as Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world."
The second truth is that we're all going to veer away from that place again and again and again. That's the nature of life. In fact, we may be off course more often than we are on course.
The question is how quickly can we get back to that centered place of wisdom, harmony, and strength. It's in this sacred place that life is transformed from struggle to grace, and we are suddenly filled with trust, whatever our obstacles, challenges, or disappointments. As Steve Jobs said in his now legendary commencement address at Stanford, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."